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JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending October 28th, 2005

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Police are searching for the bodies of two women thought to be dead and dumped in a sewage main at the Greenwich Town treatment plant. A third woman escaped with injuries and lived to tell the story of the rape and murder of the two others. Members of the Organized Crime Investigation Division armed themselves with sticks and shovels, and scoured sinkholes and bushes beyond the Tinson Pen Aerodrome, which connects to Spanish Town Road, where the women are believed to have been left. Blood was found along the trail and is being tested for forensic evidence. According to police, three gunmen robbed patrons of a bar on First Street, then abducted three women as they made their getaway. The women were taken to a dark area near Greenwich Town playing field where they were raped and shot, then thrown into a hole. The third woman is now under police protection.

Great Bay, Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth is in crisis mode as a number of families, their homes and farms are submerged in water. A sense of hopelessness is mounting. Shops are closed, homes are abandoned and fields were flooded. Debris floats along the waterway as children stand by and watch. Many said all they had left were the clothes they were wearing and are begging for help from the government. More than 40 homes have been flooded due to the passage of Hurricane Wilma last week. Many had to keep moving to avoid the rising flood waters, and watched as their belongings were ruined. They continue to ask the government for help in draining the water so cleanup can begin.

Two women are still missing after being abducted, raped and shot by three men. They are presumed dead. Police describe the crime as one of the most vicious in Jamaica in years, culminating in the women being thrown in a sewage main and left to rot. One woman survived the attack, only because the bullet fired at her head grazed her instead of finding its mark. The women, all in their 20s, were at a small bar on First Street, Newport West, when a car arrived carrying three men. The men entered the bar, drew guns and robbed the patrons. After loading a television set and some alcohol into a stolen car, the men abducted the three women at gunpoint. The women were taken to a dark, grassy area near the Tinson Pen Aerodrome where more men arrived and all raped the women. An intense search has been underway ever since, but the two women presumed dead have not been found as of yet.

The Rio Cobre overflowed its banks and has created a path of destruction including deep craters, large boulders in the way, landslides and extensive erosion. The river jumped its banks and ate away large chunks of roadway, creating several large craters. Retaining walls and trees were taken along as well. Work crews were on site yesterday to try to repair the situation, which is estimated to be many million dollars. Extortionists were accosting motorists as they tried to access the roadway. Schools were closed for at least three days last week and will reopen today. In some areas the water is still three feet high. In some areas piles of mud and rocks were more than 20 feet high, cutting off access to several waterways. The damage is due to rains last week when heavy rains hit the area.

Police shot and killed two men who are suspected of being responsible for the abduction, rape and murder of two of three women attacked this week. A pre-dawn operation in Olympic Gardens, St. Andrew led to the shooting of the two men. Oran White and Dennis Simmons were killed in separate incidents in a section of the community known as Compound. The police reported that guns were taken from the bodies of the two suspects. Police speculate that the women were victims of an ongoing dispute between McKenley Crescent and Compound gangs. Two of the women are presumed dead, while a third is under police protection after escaping and reporting the crime to the Hunts Bay Police. Residents are now claiming the men were killed in cold blood and were not part of any gang activity. But police are satisfied they got the right men. Additional suspects are either in custody or being sought for questioning.

The government will be closing two of the five publicly owned sugar factories, leading to a loss of 4,000 jobs. The plan was unveiled in Parliament yesterday ahead of plans by the European Union to reduce the price of sugar by 39 percent if it is imported from African, Caribbean or Pacific countries. The reduction will take place over four years. Long Pond and Bernard Lodge plants will be closed for sugar production according to the Prime Minister. While not immediate, the move is being forced due to the reduction. The plan will begin next year. The PM was quick to assure that measures would be taken to establish training programs for the affect employees so they can transition, most likely to the tourism industry as well as the production of ethanol and increased production of molasses.

A newly formed anti-corruption unit was launched yesterday as part of the Jamaica Constabulary Force. Assistant Commissioner Novelette Grant gave an overview of the unit’s strategy and purpose, and explained that for the system to work effectively, funding must be in place. It is expected that the government will need to provide $111 million to the unit to ensure its optimal operation. Grant said the unit needs technology and equipment that will assist with covert operations such as surveillance. Investigations into acts of corruption by police will be conducted by the Internal Affairs division. The plan allows for codes to terminate any member of the force for serious cases of unethical behavior and allows for inter-agency cooperation with agencies such as the Financial Investigation Division and the Corruption Prevention Division. Since June, 25 police personnel have been arrested and charged for theft, conspiracy and breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act.

The meteorological service is predicting another wet weekend for Jamaica as weather systems bringing more rain continue to arrive. Sections of Trelawny, Hanover and St. Elizabeth are already waterlogged and 150 people were forced to evacuate communities of Zion, Comfort Hall and Scarlett Hall in Trelawny. A severe weather alert remained in effect for the island until 5 a.m. today. Through the weekend more thunderstorms and rain are expected, with a tropical wave moving across the Caribbean. The office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management advised residents who live in areas prone to flooding to evacuate to safer areas or to public shelters. School time continues to be lost as a result of the facilities being used as shelters for those who cannot remain in their homes.

The Jamaica Combined Martial Arts Team, known as the Busta Fighters, named a super squad for their December 5 match against Cuba in the second leg of the Busta Challenge Cup. The match against the Cubans involves a 10-man squad, doubling the normal team size. The super squad will take part in the largest ever black belt event in the Caribbean, with two points awarded for a winning bout, with one junior participating on each squad. The first match of the challenge cup pitted Jamaica against the Trinidad team. The recruits all qualified by entering the Jamaican Taekwondo Association Open in March of this year, and their selection was based on their ability to function in a full-contact environment.

Jamaica College trounced Jose Marti in a 9-0 win toward the end of round one of the ISSA/Pepsi/JN Manning Cup. Going into the break Jamaica College led 3-0, and then struck five goals in 18 minutes of the second half. The beating was led by Kemar Daley, who scored three goals. Substitute Collin Gallimore scored two as did Ja-Ir Gooden. The win brought Jamaica College to 16 points from eight games to the head of Group A. Jose Marti is without a chance of qualifying for the next round. They’ve scored just once in six games. The coach considers it a good morale booster going into the second round.

Portmore United and Waterhouse F.C. were forced to settle for one point apiece as they played to a draw upon play resuming in the Wray and Nephew National Premier League at the Ferdie Neita Park sports complex yesterday. Kevin Larney scored the first goal in the 38th minute for the Waterhouse team. Portmore United came back in the game in the 57th minute to bring the teams to a tie. Both coaches were disappointed with the results of the match, hoping for more points to keep them in the running for the End of Round final. Waterhouse has 15 points and is in fourth, one less than tied Arnett and Tivoli Gardens. Portmore United stands at 12 points for the round.

Kingston College remains in limbo regarding their second round chances, despite having beaten Bridgeport 1-0 in their final ISSA/Pepsi/JN Manning Cup match at Ferdie Neita Park yesterday. Dwayne Darmond scored in the 49th minute and allowed the team to keep their chances alive. The team’s coach believes the St. Catherine teams are conspiring to keep KC out of the second round. The victory yesterday left them with 20 points, three more than Eltham. But Eltham has one more game, against Bridgeport, and are in contention to get full points for a game not played at St. Jago last week, where the team did not show up to play. KC’s coach believes the team did not show up for their home game because of a conspiracy to keep the St. Catherine teams higher in the points war.

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Written by Staff Writer